New investment provided by The FA, and delivered by the Football Foundation, has been announced which will support the growth and maintenance of 157 teams in Essex, meaning a boost for an estimated 2,830 footballers in local leagues.
Figures show that football in Essex is set to receive significant backing over the next twelve months as ‘Grow the Game’, which was first introduced back in 2010, offers grants of £1,500 towards community football clubs wishing to establish new teams. This year the funding round was focused on catering for female and disabled players.
In addition ‘Retain the Game’ is a brand-new scheme launched in April, targeting support for existing adult male clubs to continue offering local opportunities to play. Grants of £750 are being made to assist with the essential costs of playing and training. Between them, Grow the Game is developing 65 new Essex teams, while Retain the Game is helping 92 existing sides.
A large number of clubs in Essex have been successful in securing investment. Over the course of the next year, Grow the Game will support the growth of 46 female and 19 disabled teams respectively. Funding from both grants can be used to help a club pay for courses, league affiliation costs, referees’ fees, first aid kits and even kit and equipment through a bespoke voucher.
The Essex County FA have provided advice to local clubs with their applications to both funds and Development Manager, Nick Emery, explained: “This funding will make a real difference to grassroots clubs and their volunteers across Essex.”
“As part of our ‘Moving Forward’ Strategy for 2018-21, we want to increase participation across all age ranges in our county and particularly aim to build on recent successes by continuing to drive up the numbers of people playing football among under-represented groups.”
Danielle Carter, a member of The FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board and Arsenal Women’s striker, added: “We should start to see increased numbers of women’s, girls’ and disability teams in parks and facilities across the country, which will hopefully inspire even more new players to take up, enjoy and continue to build the sport amongst these groups.”
Aidy Boothroyd, England Under 21s Head Coach, said: “Whilst the total number of adult male footballers in England has increased over the past few years, it is vital that regular playing opportunities continue to exist with teams in their local areas. I hope this new scheme will make a real difference across the country and help to maintain high levels of participation.”
Across the two campaigns, The FA have made £2.5 million available to clubs looking to create or retain teams. The Football Foundation also delivers the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund on behalf of the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England.
Since 2000, the Foundation has supported over 16,000 community projects worth more than £1.5bn. In Essex, the Foundation’s Funding Partner investment has assisted with the development of 26 3G artificial grass pitches, 47 real grass pitches and 29 changing pavilions.
To find out more about Essex grassroots football funding opportunities, please browse the menus above, follow @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and search for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.